Fibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar Reduction

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Fibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar Reduction


Water soluble dietary fibre can improve the taste and texture of fat reduction or sugar reduction recipes, while maintaining a well balanced nutritional composition. Contributed by Futura.


The concept of a fibre-rich diet is gaining popularity due to its well known digestive health benefits. In recent years, many low-calorie fibre foods have become a part of the modern consumer’s daily diet.


Dietary fibre is a group of highly complex substances. It includes natural and modified materials with different physical and chemical properties, which are not digested by enzymes in our small intestine. Research findings demonstrate different beneficial physiological effects contributed by different types of dietary fibre, which are directly related to their different physicochemical properties such as solubility, water binding capability, viscosity and bulking ability. 


Classification Of Fibres

Dietary fibre can be classified according to their sources, composition, solubility, fermentability, and physiological effects. However, none of these categories can singly be used for the classification of dietary fibres as they do not completely cover all aspects of dietary fibre. One of the most popular classification systems of dietary fibres are based on their solubility in water, where fibre is divided into two groups, insoluble and soluble fibre. The distinction is due to the chemical properties of fibre sources and analytical quantification, and it does not necessarily reflect the physiological effects.


Water-insoluble dietary fibres cannot dissolve in water and therefore do not show gel formation. Generally, insoluble dietary fibres are partially or poorly fermented in the large intestine by microflora (Tungland & Meyer (2002). Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 1 (3), 90-109). When consumed, they enhance fecal bulk, help in elimination of waste, and reduce intestinal transit time. 


Water-soluble dietary fibres can be dissolved in water. They show resistance toward the digestion process in the small intestine and are generally well fermented in the large intestine by microflora (Tungland & Meyer (2002). Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 1 (3), 90-109). Soluble dietary fibres enhance the transit time in the human digestive tract and cause delay in gastric emptying, which leads to a reduced rate of glucose absorption.


Before we delve into how water soluble dietary fibre can improve the taste and texture of fat reduction or sugar reduction recipes, let’s take a look a the nutritional profile of fibres.


The Nutritional Profile Of Fibres

Dietary fibre is broadly accepted as an important part of the diet and a common component of nutritional intake. Dietary fibre can exert a varied range of health benefits, such as decreasing blood pressure, reducing plasma cholesterol, and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which mainly results from weight control and a decreased risk of obesity. 


It has been well documented that dietary fibres play a key role in body-weight regulation and reduced risk of related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. This is mainly due to the beneficial effects of dietary fibres, for example, enhanced satiety and reduced energy intake. High fibre foods have well documented effects on satiety, which is mainly due to their bulking and textural properties (Slavin & Green (2007). Dietary fibre and satiety. Nutrition Bulletin, 32, 32-42). Dietary fibres have low energy value and contribute to the bulking property, which lead to reduced energy intake via fibre rich diets when compares to high fat or high sugar diets.


Insoluble dietary fibres are generally poorly fermented by microflora; conversely, soluble dietary fibres are highly fermented by microflora. The complex composition of dietary fibres, polysaccharides, and oligosaccharides, composed in turn by monosaccharides, makes the use of these compounds by gut microbiota difficult, although bacteria have different abilities to cleave linkages in the structure of these complex molecules to obtain simple sugars (Hamaker & Tuncil (2014). Journal of Molecular Biology, 426 (23), 3838-3850).


Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) of which acetate, propionate and butyrate are the main metabolites of microbial fermentation of dietary fibres (Den Besten et al. (2013). Journal of Lipid Research, 54 (9), 2325-2340). SCFA plays a different beneficial role of human health. Butyrate is considered as a major energy source for the colonic epithelium; propionate is primarily utilised on gluconeogenesis in the liver, and acetate enters systemic circulation and reaches peripheral tissues (Puddu et al. (2014). Mediatoors on inflammation, 2014 (1), 162021). Propionate and butyrate activate intestinal gluconeogenesis via a gut-brain neural circuit, promoting metabolic benefits on body weight and glucose control; acetate reduces the appetite by changing expression profiles of appetite regulatory neuropeptides in the hypothalamus through activiation of TCA cycle (Kasubuchi et al. (2015). Nutrients, 7, 2839-2849).



Water-soluble dietary fibre, for instance inulin and polydextrose, can be used for either its nutritional advantages or its technological properties. It is often applied to offer an improved organoleptic quality and a better balanced nutritional composition. Water-soluble dietary fibre allows the development of food products with a wide variety of nutritional improvements such as fibre fortification, calorie reduction, reduced glycemic load as well as sugar and fat reduction. The technological properties of water-soluble dietary fibre facilitate the production of products with a taste and texture profile similar to that of standard products. Because of the technological and functional properties of water-soluble dietary fibre, these can be used in different applications for formulation of foods, such as beverages, drinks, bakery and frozen desserts. 

Fibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar ReductionFibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar ReductionFibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar Reduction

Ekölite VITA Fibre Inulin and Ekölite VITA Fibre Polydextrose are used in variety of dairy and other beverages. It is neutral or flavoured,  low pH, pasteurised, or UHT. It improves mouthfeel and the taste experience of a product, particularly noticeable in low fat dairy drinks and beverages application. Inulin and polydextrose are added to dairy and beverages as a source of dietary fibre as they are very soluble, forming clear solutions, and has a very stable shelf life.


One of the most important properties in the development of food products is moisture management, as it influences texture, flavour, consumer acceptability and food safety. Compared with bread, cookies contain a very low amount of water, which gives them their crispy texture. The crispiness of low-moisture foods like cookies is related to their water content. Water plays a complex role in affecting the interactions between different ingredients, and contributes to the unique sensory experience of cookies. Water soluble fibre such as inulin, polydextrose and other oligosaccharides, have been widely used as a thickener, stabiliser, and texturiser in many processed food products. Fortification of biscuits with increasing levels of water soluble fibre imparts texture, which results in harder and chewier cookies. Besides texture, water soluble fibre imparts mouthfeel and affects the organoleptic and physical appearance of cookies, especially for sugar reduction or fat reduction recipes.


Water soluble fibre is also great as a fat replacer in frozen desserts due to its ease in processing and a fatty mouthfeel. It also does not contain any unwanted off-flavor. Soluble fibre replaces the creaminess, smoothness, and mouthfeel of sugar and fat, enabling the formulation of high quality, lower calorie and reduced fat frozen desserts. Besides, soluble fibre like inulin and polydextrose influence the freezing point depression and help in achieving creamy, delicious frozen desserts.


To sum up, inulin and polydextrose are functional food ingredients that offer opportunities for fat and carbohydrate replacement without compromising on taste and texture, while delivering nutritional benefits to food products. The food industry can look forward to healthier, tastier and more well balanced products in the future.



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